The link between dreaming and depression

Our College Principal, Ivan Tyrrell, explains why depressed people wake up still feeling exhausted and tired and discusses the link between depression and dreaming.

Posted by: Eleanor

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17 responses to “The link between dreaming and depression

  1. I couldn’t get to the end of this. The pauses between sound bites became longer and longer, then my cursor froze and I had to switch off the computer and re-boot. After this happened twice I didn’t feel like trying again! Is there a text version of this anywhere?

  2. I’m sorry your computer is having problems loading the video – is this the case with all the youtube videos or just our one?

    All the information in the video is available on our human givens institute website. Here is the link to the depression page:

    http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/depression.htm

    Hope this helps

  3. I’ve sent copies of “Dreaming Reality” to two friends that deal with depression. I love the way it gently and intelligently leads them to an understanding.

    I’ve just finished reading not too long ago and it is one, if not the most, amazing book I’ve ever read. Ivan Tyrrell and Joe Griffin did a most excellent job of bringing this theory into my understanding, a quite frankly into my belief.

  4. Since starting this blog, we have had more enquiries from the US about the human givens approach than ever!

  5. I agree with the speaker/author about the exhaustion depressed dream states can bring, but can this technique help someone with a disease which creates the initial depression which then drives the unhealthy sleep pattern?
    What if my depression is caused by a disease, such as Manic Depression, and it’s this “fake” depression which then drives my REM sleep to overtake my recouperative sleep thereby driving me into a “natural” depression?

    With regards to the technique(s) discussed in the book, was there any research done involving Manic Depressives? If so, were the results on par with the non-diseased depressions?

  6. Excellent question.

    Whilst in the depression phase – people, as we have seen, are overusing the REM state and dreaming excessively.

    In mania, by contrast, people typically do not dream *enough* – working or playing hard, day and night, with minimal time set aside for sleep and rest because they feel they don’t need it. By staying up all night every night they become starved of the vital REM sleep that would reduce the arousal (mania). So arousal levels build and build, till the inevitable point when there is a crash down into excessive REM sleep to make up for the lack – which consequently leads to depression.

    In the depression phase, the psychotherapeutic skills needed to treat depression are apposite. When the manic pole is threatening, it is important for a person to reduce stimulation – cut down on caffeine for example – and apply relaxation techniques. What is especially vital is getting a good night’s sleep. However exciting life may seem to an individual during the manic phase, unless they get enough REM sleep they will heighten their arousal levels, accelerating the onset of mania.

    To answer your questions directly, research indicates that the best way to treat manic depression is to learn to recognise mania and depression and then discipline sleep (and also worrying) accordingly at the first sign of either of these phases – this (often combined with medication such as lithium) is considered the most effective treatment for the majority of patients.

  7. “…the best way to treat manic depression is to learn to recognise mania and depression and then discipline sleep… this (often combined with medication such as lithum) is considered the most effective treatment for the majority of patients.”

    But it’s left to the person with the disease to monitor and track their own sleeping patterns so they can “discipline their sleep”, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the patient to simply be prescribed a low dose of an anti-psychotic like Seroquel when they’re first prescribed a mood stabilizer? I’ve found most Manic Depressives don’t even realize their sleep disturbances are caused by the disease, instead believing the disturbances are simply a fact of life. Others believe that the Lithium will take care of all of the symptoms, so there’s no need for anything other than, maybe, an anti-depressent.
    The problem, as I see it, is that the patient, without any understanding of their disease, is often placed in charge of their treatments while the disease — Manic Depression — works against the patient at every step, especially in terms of sleep management.

    Essentially: If I have a disease that prevents me from either wanting to get better (mania) or being able to actually seek treatment (depression), and then causes long lasting natural depressions via lack of sleep, how can I (or: can I) modify my sleeping patterns without medications specifically prescribed to do so?

    An example of a manic depressive who didn’t understand her sleeping was abnormal:

    http://saltedlithium.wordpress.com/2006/12/08/adjusted_memories/#comment-23

  8. feartheseeds – You have asked a very pertinent question and instead of replying here I am going to write a post about bipolar disorder because you have raised an important point which needs to be expanded- watch this space..

  9. I appreciate the effort, Eleanor, and I look forward to reading your response…

    Gabriel.

  10. Pingback: How the link between REM sleep and depression affects the treatment of Bipolar Disorder

  11. The root cause of the link between emotion-dreaming -depression seems to be emotion and if you cant change your genetically predetermined emotions then how is dreaming less going to make you less depressed? Maybe emotional people have more dreams and therefore get more depressed but the main problem is still something more or less outside of their control (ie. their feelings)? Most people I know who are depressed including me are fairly emotional people- they react to things easily/ quickly/ deeply (this doesnt mean profoundly necessarily) but thats something that they cant change. Whether its angry, happy , sad they always seem to be ‘feeling’ in relation to their environment. I have extremely vivid dreams but if they are ‘happy’ I dont wake up tired. If they are bad dreams then I do wake up feeling tired. Do other people make more of a link with tiredness/ depression and feeling a certain way already or with dreaming? I do confess I love dreaming (nice dreams!) and it sometimes feel like an addiction to sleep in order to experience these ‘amazing’ dreams…

  12. emotion-dreaming-depression are all linked to the brain so all these three emotions go hand in hand.
    ——————————————————
    ken long
    dual-diagnosis.net

  13. i recently read that the use of serotonin is related to dreaming – could this be related to the over dreaming of people with depression?

  14. I strongly disagree that worrying leads to disordered dreaming.

    I believe that disordered dreaming, much like worrying, are both symptoms of an underlying depressive process.

    The doctor assumes all people worried themselves into depression. I can tell you that my depression is endogenous, spontaneous, and worry does not precipitate my depression. Worry is not even a central feature of my depression (it is one symptom, but others are more debilitating such as the sense of meaninglessness, guilt, feeling very little and that which I feel is often bad, etc).

    I do notice I dream a lot more when I am depressed but I do not think this is because I am worried, I think it is because the same disturbed brain activity which makes me depressed is also the same thing that makes me dream a lot.

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